Photo: Javier Sicilia
Poet and human rights activist Javier Sicilia plans to meet with Mexico’s four presidential candidates this week to lay out the position of his Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity, or MPJD, on security and victims of violence.
“The goal of these dialogues is to set down the position and demands of the MPJD, focusing on the victims and the national emergency created by the war on drugs. We will demand a clear position in light of the current situation in the country,” the movement said in a statement.
The meeting is scheduled to take place Monday at Chapultepec Castle in Mexico City.
Sicilia and representatives of his movement have previously met with President Felipe Calderon to discuss the violence in Mexico.
The poet and human rights activist has said that he plans to cast a blank ballot in the July 1 general elections as a “dignity” vote and to protest the inability of the political parties to deal with Mexico’s problems, including the wave of drug-related violence.
Sicilia plans to meet with each of the presidential candidates - Josefina Vazquez Mota, Gabriel Quadri, Enrique Peña Nieto and Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador - for 90 minutes starting at 9:00 a.m., the movement said.
A delegation of crime victims and MPJD members, as well as invited guests, will participate in the event, which will be open to the media.
“We want to reiterate that these dialogues are non-profit and non-partisan, and of a civil and peaceful nature,” the movement said.
The Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity has been calling for a change in Mexico’s security strategy and more attention to the suffering of victims.
About 50,000 people have died in Mexico’s drug war since December 2006, when Calderon declared war on the country’s powerful cartels, sending soldiers into the streets to fight criminals.
Sicilia became a human rights activist in the wake of his son’s murder last year.
The poet’s 24-year-old son, Juan Francisco, and six other young men were murdered by the violent Pacifico Sur drug cartel in the central state of Morelos on March 27, 2011.
Juan Francisco’s killing led Sicilia to stop writing and dedicate himself full-time to working for peace so other parents will not have to feel his pain.
Sicilia organized the Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity, traveling across Mexico to spread his message of peace.
The organization staged two caravans - one in northern Mexico and the other in the southern part of the country - to gather testimony from victims of violence and push for a law to protect them.
Sicilia is planning a peace caravan around the United States starting on Aug. 12.